Essay on The British Food Crisis During WWI

Essay on The British Food Crisis During WWI

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During World War One (WW1) the British Government faced large difficulties in the maintaining of adequate food supplies to the civilian population. This resulted due to a number of attributes including the attitudes of civilians in the face of war, effective German war strategy, and the poor experience of Britain in dealing with these types of situations. These difficulties became noticeably evident soon after the outbreak of WW1, the British Government had implemented rationing across the nation in 1918, where the issue reached its pinnacle. This came as a result of the Kaiser’s introduction of the successful “U-boat” campaign; whereas unrestricted submarine warfare halted the flow of imports, causing massive food shortages across Britain.

The war brought fear into the hearts of the British civilian population, which caused the initial issues relative to the maintaining of food supplies. The declaration of war caused panic across the nation, civilians began to hoard food in preparation for the worst. This caused some stores to sell out of food completely within just a few days in the month of August 1914. This saw the initial food shortages to be noted as self imposed during the start of the war, but these shortages would not again become a huge problem until 1916.

It wasn't until 1916 that Britain felt great pressure in maintaining adequate food supplies as a result of the deliberate actions of the opposition. Since the declaration of war Britain had continued to import products, including food supplies mainly from countries such as America and Canada as mentioned in Source B. These supplies included meat, sugar, tea, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, and fruit. Source B outlines that these ships were able to transport these g...

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...kments were transformed and used as allotments. This aimed to allow the nation its own self sufficient food supply, maintaining the availability of food stuffs, which would otherwise of been lacking during that time due to blockage of imports to Britain.

The issues the British Government faced in the maintaining of adequate food supplies to the civilian population were drastic, putting some of Britain's population at risk of starvation or malnutrition. This amounted due to the nature of war, and presented a real threat to Britain. Nevertheless the government dealt with the situation in the implication of various strategies, and in the end no one civilian died as a result of food shortages. In addition to this the British Government had actually resolved the issue in almost matching the average intake of calories per person to those of the pre-war level.

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